Friday, January 28, 2011
Awakening the sleeping buying motive
I'll bet just reading those words sent you into fantasyland if you're in sales. But you are getting way ahead of yourself. Yes, you need to describe in general terms what you do and how you do it in order for people to be open to talk in more depth with you. But a buy decision requires the identification of a need or a want first. The choice to work with you is the second part of the process.
Let's put you in the role of the potential buyer for a moment.:
I'm sure you are walking around all day long with problems, challenges, opportunities and situations rolling around in your head. Many of them will continue to roll around in there, because you haven't decided yet that you want to do something about them. They are in latent form. Many of them aren't all that important to you right now, and some of them are only in your subconscious - they haven't raised themselves to the level that you notice them.
A latent need (sleeping buying motive) becomes active (you want to do something about it) when you identify rewards associated with it that are big enough to get you off your duff and do something about it. Or perhaps it won't be rewards, but rather the avoidance of negative consequences that will wake you from your slumber. Your motivation to buy increases with the value of every pebble of reward and consequence that you add to the scale.
Now salesperson - if you realize that most needs are latent, what do you have to do? Those prospects out there don't even have you on the radar screen because their need is not in active mode yet. If you drop into their office, say enthusiastically, "I've got product A here in my bag. Want some?" they aren't going to make the connection, even if product A is fabulous and your pitch is flawless.
Your job is to sit down with them and help them discover what their needs are, to facilitate their thought process about the potential rewards (and the consequences if they don't act) so that they can move on to their next choice - about whether you are the one to solve the problem or fulfill the need.
The needs-based, customer-focused sales process is about asking, not about telling. If you have ten different prospective customers in front of you, the conversations and buying motives might be completely different from one another - even if you only sell one product to fulfill customer needs. It is the "why" that awakens the bear.